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CLEARY HEARD NEWS IN LONDON
By A Staff Correspondent.
By Beam Wireless.
JON CLEARY, 29-year-old
" author of "You Can't See Round Corners," received the news that he had won second prize in the competition in his London flat
on Christmas Eve.
When a "Herald" representative told him of his success he said: "Well, this is certainly the best Christ- mas present I ever had!"
His wife, whom he met on the ship coming to England last June, kissed her Ausband and said: "I think it's (oo marvellous!"
Mr. Cleary." is in . England to fur- ther his writing career. Although he began writing seriously only a few jears ago he always wanted to be- come an author.
LIE was born in Sydney and edu-
cated at the Marist Brothers' Col- lege, Randwick. After leaving school he had a variety of jobs, finally set- tling down as a commercial artist shortly before the war.
In 1940 he joined the A.I.F. and served in the Middle East. When he returned to Australia he joined the Military History Section and served in New Guinea and New Britain. In the Middle East he began writing a series of short stories, founded mostly on fact, which were published in Australian magazines.
In New Guinea he began the draft of "You Can't See Round Corners," and when he was demobbed, hearing of the "Herald" competition he de- cided to rewrite the novel. The re- writing took him about six months.
Meanwhile, he began to have suc- cess in other fields. During the war he won two radio play competitions.
He also had short stories accepted' in American magazines like "The Cosmopolitan" and "The Saturday Evening Post."
He decided to embark on a serious literary career and as soon as he had
submitted his novel for competition he prepared to go to England.
He has always been particularly in- terested in films and wishes to gain some experience at first-hand of film- making and film-scripting in England. He also wished to enlarge his experi-
"T HAVE every intention of return-
ing to Australia," he said, "and anything I write will always have an Australian background, or at least an Australian theme. However, I feel that too many Australian writers stay at home and develop an insular view. I wanted to come to England not only to learn, but also to get away from Australia so that I could take a good look at it from the outside."
Mr. Cleary intends to spend about two years in England, then go on to America for another year or two, and then return to Sydney.
He drew the theme of "You Can't See Round Corners" partly from his own experience as a youth when he worked at Paddington, Sydney. He was only l8 when he worked there, but even then he was thinking in terms of novel writing. "Frankie McCoy, the hero of the novel, is a composite of types 1 met, and who for
all their faults I admire," he said. "When first I went to Paddington as a boy I tended to be snobbish about the people I met there. It.was not long before I learned to admire their pluck in the face of poverty, their generosity, and their dogged refusal to accept defeat-they battle on and don't whine. I always remember the case of one girl-she was not what nice people call nice, she was immoral and she swore. But one Christmas
Eve, out of her week's earnings of 55/ she gave 20/ to a boy who was the eldest of a family of five in the poorest circumstances, and who was earning only 15/ a week. I never forgot that."
\/[R. CLEARY says he is primarily 1 L interested in telling a story when
he writes a novel, and telling it as well as he can. The big influences on him have been successively Con- rad, Hemingway, and Graham Greene.
At present he is engaged on a psychological "thriller" set in a New South Wales country town which he hopes to finish in about sb. months' time. He has been in contact with film executives in Britain, including Harry Watt, and Paramount is con- sidering his thriller as a possible sub- ject for a film.
Harry Watt, who has gone to Aus- tralia, has taken with him a film script by,Mr. Cleary which he is going to try to sell to an Australian film studio.
Meanwhile, Mr. Cleary has been advised to continue novel writing. He has at least one other novel in mind for after the present work is finished.
He works hard. "You Can't See Round Corners" occupied eight months in various New Guinea bases where he served.
"I worked at it every night," he said. "I wrote it firstly in the first person style, but when I finally decided to submit it for the competition 1 decided this method was quite unsuit- able to the theme, so 1 re-wrote the whole thing. I think there is a great market here in England for Australian novels. I have been particularly in- terested to see the interest created by the film, 'The Overlanders,' and several people have commented on the phrase, 'piccaninny dawn.' That is a common enough phrase-I have used it myself-yet here people think it unusual and very vivid."
lyf R. CLEARY is modest about his x * own achievements. He says he is still very much of a learner. "At present I am trying to find my own style, and for the rest I think my work owes a lot to a vein of Irish blarney."
But since he began writing he had his Middle East short stories pub- lished as a volume, "These Small Glories," and he won first prize in an A.B.C. Services play competition and was co-winner of the A.B.C. 1945 national play contest. The £1,000 which he has won in the "Herald"
competition will make the future very much easier, he says. Amongst other things it will enable him and his wife, formerly Miss Joy Lucas, of Abbots- ford, Melbourne, to 'take the honey
JON CLEARY - WINNER OF THE SECOND PRIZE. Aged 29, Jon Cleary was born in Sydney and educated at the Marist Brothers' College, Randioick. In his youth he lived for a time at Paddington where he*learned to know many of the local "characters" and absorbed the atmosphere reproduced in his prize-winning novel. He served with the A.I.F. and Military History section and is well-known as the author of many successful short stories. At present he is in London to gain wider literary experience and perhaps to break into films as a script-writer.
moon which they were forced to defer after their marriage a few months ago. They plan to go to Sweden because it is one of the few parts of Europe un- touched by war.